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Philosophy for our times: cutting edge debates and talks from the world's leading thinkers

Beyond Borders
Speakers: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Jonathan Cruddas, Chandran Kukathas
What divides us?

The nation, the tribe, the union, are all sources of strength. But they are also a means to entrench advantage and exclude others. Are borders and boundaries really about privilege? Should we strengthen them so we have greater power and status, or remove them to create a fairer world?
Future Storm
Future Storm
The future is a storm front. Science fiction novelist Warren Ellis reveals where lightening will strike next  
Word and the World
The Word and the World
What are the limits of language?
What are the limits of language

The power of words is a wonder, and language perhaps our greatest skill. Yet the gap between the sound of a bell and its description is huge. Are the limits to language so profound that the big questions of science and philosophy are beyond us? Or can everything be said if we try hard enough?
Unnatural Laws
Unnatural Laws
Are eternal laws an illusion?
Are eternal laws an illusion?

From Newton's laws to E=mc2, we think we have uncovered the secrets of the universe. But some claim these laws evolve and others point to their human and cultural origins. Might eternal natural laws be human hubris? Or is the mind of God in our grasp?
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Matter and Mind
Is consciousness inexplicable?

Neuroscience has enabled us to explain how the brain affects the body. Yet there is no theory to explain how the matter of the brain creates thought and experience. Is consciousness inexplicable because it is not part of the material world? Or is it somehow physical after all and within our grasp?
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Killing the King
The myth of the strong leader

Ancient cultures often chose their leader and gave them unbridled power of life and death. But if the crops failed the leader was killed. Are voters still in thrall to the same fantasy believing each new leader will work miracles? Do we demand the impossible or are our leaders simply incompetent? 
Speakers: Oliver Burkeman, Erwin James, Helen Lederer
How to live your life

Fulfill your dreams and make the most of your life! So advocate headmasters, moralists and revolutionaries. Yet poet John Betjeman's principal regret was that he did not have more sex. Is life not about goals and ambition but about the moment of being? Or is making our dreams real the only way to fulfillment?
Dark Side of Success
The Dark Side of Success
From the boardroom to the bedroom, we think happiness means having it all. Prize-winning novelist Meg Rosoff reveals the dark side of success.
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Catching Sight of Ourselves
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Categories: Life & The Living
Speakers: Adjoa Andoh, Christopher Hamilton, Daniel Miller
Who looks back in the mirror?

Far flung destinations are often home to those seeking to 'find themselves'. Encouraged perhaps by Socrates’ maxim for an ethical life: 'know thyself'. But do any of us ever arrive? Is the self a real and stable enough 'thing' that it can be known? Or can we never catch sight of ourselves in the mirror?   
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Imagining Reality
Can we create fantasy worlds?

None of us believe Mr. Darcy or Oliver Twist are real, no matter how much we might wish it so. Yet fiction's most fantastical creations have a habit of leaping into reality. Does imagination create reality, and if so, do we need to conjure new visions of better worlds to relegate the darkness of the present?  
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